Vietnam has reportedly sneaked in mobile rocket launchers in the highly disputed area in the South China Sea, an unprecedented move from the country that will surely raise tensions in the area in higher levels.
According to an exclusive report from Reuters, Vietnam has managed to discretely fortified some of the islands in the vast maritime zone that are within the area that China has been claiming. Vietnam, along with its ASEAN neighbors, has overlapping claim in the area of South China Sea..
EXTRA Missile System
The advanced rocket launchers are believed to be part of Vietnam’s upgrade of its military equipment. The report noted that Vietnam recently bought new military equipment as part of its EXTRA rocker missile system.
But a high-ranking military official from Vietnam was quick to dismiss the report without giving further information. Although in June, Vietnam has announced that it is planning to strengthen its military capability as part of its sovereign rights in the disputed region.
It can be recalled that the UN-sanctioned Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague has issued a ruling last July 12 that virtually dismissed China’s claim in the region. The court ruled that China’s nine-dash line rule and its historical claim are inconsistent with international law, especially the United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS).
But China reiterated that it has the sole rights over the vast maritime zone where at least $5 trillion of goods pass through each year. In a statement faxed to Reuters, China’s Foreign Ministry reiterated that China has sole sovereignty over the vast maritime zone.
“China resolutely opposes the relevant country illegally occupying parts of China’s Spratly islands and reefs and on these illegally occupied Spratly islands and reefs belonging to China carrying out illegal construction and military deployments,” the statement reads.